Why We Drop Things – Subpar, Bad, and Terrible Animation

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Usually, a show is excepted to be look relativity good or decent. Being optimistic a show is supposed to look great. Nevertheless, that is not always the case. In reality I’d say a good amount of time that is not the case. One does not get that glossy “Ufotable quality” that rocks your eyes so often.

We have cases where the production values are low, cases where there aren’t enough animators, cases where they hardly manage to make the deadline, and in some cases the studios are just not good. Instead we have shows that look relatively decent, not bad, but decent enough where one can get through it without noticing the animation crew was in a rush or half drunk when they did this.

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Naturally you are obviously going to notice


Questionable animation. Mistakes in animation. The cases are many. Who can forget that popular bundle of pictures of popular animation mistakes where that character surpassed humanity by obtained six fingers instead of five. Or that girl’s mouth and nose which were too dastardly close to each other or just plainly lacks one. A Makoto who would be surprised she is not cute after all. Or the unforgettable old Yuuichi and his amazingly long chin from the first Kanon that would forever continue to trouble physicians.

Or that scene where that character is missing an arm. That one other where she has no mouth. That person who has two right hands. Likewise, that character who has two right legs. Regardless, how you actually did in your science class or one’s knowledge of human anatomy, your eyes tell you that – “that is just not physically possible”. Look, the background is gone now. Or that thing that was there before is not there anymore.

Here is where bad animation becomes hard to miss, the short moment in which one momentarily considers a high level of intoxication or blindness to be the cause for poor displays of animation from the studios.

old kanon

" Maybe there is a level of foreshadowing when it comes to poorly 
written shows which also have poor animation. Maybe there is a 
connection between the quality and the writing. Sometimes
a show is a bad as it looks. And sometimes - "

Is there? Anime is a visual medium that mainly tells a story through images. When it can’t do it decently the viewers often notice the low production values of the project making it seem like just another generic anime show of the season. “Why does this look so bad?” “Why can’t it look better?”, and everyone now and then someone drops the “eye cancer” line to put into words their visual dismay.

These questions and other questions are what one usually hears about shows with bad animation. Maybe there is something unfair about it but, “if the people behind the project put so little effort why should the viewers?” Maybe there is something quite shallow about it but a project that looks lacking might be a mediocre show after all (not necessarily). It does sound unfair but more than one more could be thinking that from the production values. Remember that while the animation does not entirely symbolizes the project, in large part it still presents an image of quality of the project. Don’t give them another reason to lose interest in a show because of poor animation.

Dropping a show because of animation is subpar or below subpar is not something I partake myself often, but I won’t deny being a reason for consideration. One can go only so far until bad animation gets in the way of enjoyment.

this space for rent

– Regardless. “Strong” writing


If the writing is strong then the viewers will follow it regardless. At least that is my stance on the topic. We’ve been talking about visuals mainly, but the final decision also comes to down gripping top quality writing and entertainment a story derives.

It is not as much that I pursue the topic to address bad animation in general – as there are several enjoyable shows with questionable animation – but to mention that bad animation is not desirable essence. The root of the issue lies with the level of lack of animation and the image that it portrays for itself to the audience. To what we refer to as the point where decent animation downgrades to poor animation and poor animation degrades into plain disastrous animation.

Why are the occasional animation blunder not such a big issue? Because one doesn’t always personally notice these mishaps in animation. Why could it be an issue in the bigger picture? Because the issue with bad animation rather lies with constant poor animation that is noticeable to anyone watching it eventually creating a less than optimal portrayal of the series.

Maybe there is a level of foreshadowing when it comes to poorly written shows which also have poor animation. Maybe there is a connection between the quality and the writing. Sometimes a show is a bad as it looks. And sometimes they just happen to be handled by poor animation studios and they shouldn’t be judged by their cover.

I668n here, animation is not as much of a reason but it is a plausible (one factor of the many) when a person makes a decision, the final decision, to continue or to drop a show, the final additional factor, to discount following a story with average writing, on top of poor animation.

When a show is not strong from the beginning poor animation adds to the problem, in many cases becoming the final reason. In cases where the writing is compelling enough usually audience won’t leave regardless the level of animation and they push through it because as it is in many cases one is watching it for the story or the entertainment that derives from it –  subpar, bad, and terrible animation all included.

Animation or lack thereof may far from the final reason to discontinue a show because animation is not everything despite anime being a strongly visual medium, yet as one can see it is best not forget that animation is part of a show such as the characters, visuals, music and the execution are. They are all important.

* Part of the Why We Drop Things Series which explores the multiple reasons behind why viewers stop following a show.

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One thought on “Why We Drop Things – Subpar, Bad, and Terrible Animation

  1. Wow, look at the chin on that guy. Is that Jay Leno the anime?

    I can forgive poor animation/artwork if I like the story/characters. A good example would be Robotech. Some of its scenes look rough, but I still love the show.

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